236 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP. the Glory of the Shia World, like the magnificent Gothic cathedrals in Europe, was erected during the course of many generations, each of which saw some addition. The most, ancient part of the pile is the tomb-chamber, believed to be the actual mausoleum built by Mamun over the remains of Haroun-al-Rashid, and used a few years later as the burying-place of the Imam Riza.1 The dome was apparently low and erected over a chamber 33 feet square, and it is stated that the present golden dome was built over the ancient one which still exists, For 200 years the tomb was neglected, but at the beginning of the eleventh century Mahmud of Ghazni dreamed a dream, in consequence of which he ordered the Governor of Nishapur to add to the shrine and to build a wall round it. The shrine, apparently, was again neglected until the reign of Sultan Sanjar. An inscription which was copied for me shows that by his orders it was repaired in A.H. 512 (in8). This inscription and one bearing the date A.H. 612 (1215) prove that the tomb-chamber was not destroyed by the Mongols, although they sacked it; we may consequently accept this as the original tomb- chamber—a fact of some importance. The building was cased with tiles, of which fragments remain. The Mosque of Gauhar Shad.—Among the greatest benefactors of the Shrine was Gauhar Shad, wife of Shah Rukh, and to her piety we owe the magnificent mosque called by her name, which perhaps constitutes the crown- ing architectural achievement of the Mongols. It is, indeed, a noble quadrangle, with four great arches. That to the south-west, known as the Aywan-i-Maksura^ or "Portico of the Sanctuary," supports a blue dome, and in it the services are held. The illustration shows the beautiful tile and plaster work inside the Portico ; it also gives the pulpit which, according to Shia belief, will be ascended by the Twelfth Imam on the Day of Judgment The loftiness and elegance of the quadrangle, together with its perfect proportions and exquisite tile-work, make it the noblest mosque in Central Asia. In front of the magnifi- 1 Vide Chapter L, p. 73.